Last Friday, I wrote about Boston’s resiliency in the face of this winter. Today I’m thinking about another kind of resiliency – the kind we need in the face of attacks on Jews around the world.
The week began with the horrific attack in Copenhagen and the murder of two Danes, including one Jew, Dan Uzan, of blessed memory, as he guarded a synagogue. In the days that followed, we absorbed news of anti-Semitic desecration of cemeteries in France, Germany and New Zealand and a wave of swastikas on homes in Madison, Wisconsin. Of course, all of this comes after last months’ Hyper Cacher murders in Paris and the torture of Israeli tourists in Argentina.
The pace of this news can be overwhelming and it is all too tempting to throw up our arms and ask ourselves what we are to do about it.
The plain truth is that it is easy to ask this question from the comfort of our lives in Boston. Sure, we are susceptible to targeting and attacks such as those we saw in Madison and in deadly cases like the Kansas City JCC last year but by and large, we don’t live with the perpetual fears and anxieties that our brothers and sisters face elsewhere. We don’t think twice of walking into a kosher market, of standing in front of our synagogue catching up with friends, or wearing obvious indicators of our Jewishness in public.
In the history of the world, no Jewish community has been as safe, privileged, and confident to live our lives fully as citizens as we are today as Americans.
With that privilege comes a responsibility: to speak out when Argentina denies the role of Iran in the AMIA bombing and to speak out when journalists, politicians and human rights activists deny or excuse anti-Semitism by blaming it on Jews or Israel. Or when leaders in our own country – from a noble desire not to demonize nations and faiths as a whole– hedge on naming the targeting of Jews as such.
So how can we make our voices heard?
We can make it impossible to ignore what is happening. We can make our voices heard on behalf of Jews around the world. One JCRC board member tells me she has made a commitment to post every reported incident of anti-Semitism on her Facebook page! We need at least a million American Jews who take actions like this.
There are many great resources for doing this, such as sharing videos like this one from The Israel Project.
We can make sure that the world understands that it matters what American Jews think; that we have influence and do impact the course of our nation’s priorities in the world. We can make sure our elected leaders understand the urgency of this issue and that it matters that they prioritize these issues on our international agenda. We can make sure that foreign embassies and consulates know that the way in which their nations address these issues impacts how they are perceived by the American public.
This Sunday, February 22 at 1pm, The Argentinian Jewish Relief Committee of Greater Boston, JCRC and several of our members invite you to Stand for Justice for the victims of the AMIA bombing. Please join us at Boston University, 8 St. Mary’s Place room 206 and help us tell the world that the targeting of Jews and the absence of justice matters.
Sure, taking actions like these can be uncomfortable and will invite challenging conversations with some of our friends, but given what we’ve seen Jewish communities in other countries deal with this week, feeling uncomfortable is the least we can do for them.